What is Your Productivity Personality?

We all have an unique personality. There are several different types of tests you can take to find out more about your personality. I am pretty sure you have heard of introversion and extroversion. You have probably heard of task orientated vs people orientated. There are many tests you can take to help you find out more about yourself like the MBTI, Color Code, DISC Assessment, Enneagram, etc. For over a decade I have been fascinated about the concept of personality and how learning about it can help you and those around you to work better and more productively. Productivity is an important part of everyone’s life and is the goal for everyone alike whether you are a business owner, manager, employee, a parent, and even a student. Just like we have our own personality, we have our styles on what make us the most productive. Below are just a few examples of productivity personalities.

  1. Yak Yak Yak to the Bank. Most people look at someone who talks a lot and wants to always be interacting with other people as not productive, but that is only the case in a task orientated atmosphere. There are careers for people like this like talk show host, news reporters, speakers, hostesses, etc. These people really do get energized by interaction with others and discussion and even if people like this are not in a job that requires interaction, allowing them a few breaks just to shoot the breeze with others will boost their productivity. I am like this in the way that I get energy from interaction and that talking to people will help me energy to focus on something.

  2. Line em up and mow em down. This is the person that just wants to get things done. People like this are like a freight train and will barrel through whatever they are doing. It is best not to disturb this person when he or she is in the zone. That is unless you don’t mind getting run over. I could be like this at times, but not always. This is the person who may have a to do list of over 100+ items, and plans on accomplishing all of those items right away. This I brings me back to a time when I did actually have about 100 items completed on a to do list in one day.

  3. Best left alone. This is the opposite of the talker and a person that really needs to be left alone to focus. They do their best work alone and hate being interrupted. Now pretty much no one likes to be interrupted, but this productivity style hates it the most. There is plenty of work in the world that requires a deep focus so it is good to let this person do that.

  4. Planning and analyzing but not enough doing. Some people prefer to plan rather than take action. We can make great detailed schedules but get bored trying to follow them and can get off track. Or maybe we just like that part of the process so much that that we get stuck in them. This type of person will most likely love details and will notice all kinds of things that the rest of us may overlook.

  5. The “lazy” one. Some people do not place a high value on productivity, therefore they prioritize other aspects of life. It is important to find out why someone on your team doesn’t work as they should or carry their weight and address it. They may not always be lazy either as there may be life circumstances outside their control to cause then to be this way. Also, someone who may appear “lazy” may just be slower paced, calm, and relaxed. This is a very valuable characteristic in organizations. This is why I use the quotation marks for lazy because what I intend to do here is provide a different perspective.

As you may have concluded already, we are much more complex than what we see here in this list. We are probably all a combination of at least two and probably a little of all of them at times. Each of you should be able to identify one that fits you the most but will probably different ones at different times and for different reasons. We are all wired differently and are productive in different ways. It is definitely beneficial to understand each other and what makes us tick the most towards productivity.

Why You May Not Have Enough Time

We all have gotten so busy that we don’t have enough time. Some people are busier than others. We all know the person who is always so busy and gets stressed out but can’t seem to figure out why. Then there is the person who loves being busy and gets energized by living a life of constant chaos. There are also people who somehow always seem to have free time somehow. Our lives change all the time so we have problem been on both ends of continuum of busyness at one time or another. If you are finding yourself on the busy end of the spectrum for any length of time, and especially if it has been going for an extended period of time, here are some of the reasons why.

  1. You can’t say no. If you are a yes man/woman, you are probably committing to way more than you can handle. There are a lot of people with a lot of needs, and the more you see it your responsibility to fulfill as many of those as you can, your time will quickly run low. Personally, I don’t struggle with this and sometimes even err on the side of saying no too easily. I do know several people from many different seasons in my life who were always short on time due to over commitment to others.

  2. Too many projects/interests and over-commitment. Maybe you are like me and didn’t have too much of an issue saying yes to others too easily. However, you can be too busy by having too many interests and projects and getting involved with too many activities. In this case; however, no one is asking you to do these things, you may just be overzealous and trying to do a little bit of everything. This one I have been guilty of much more frequently. This is especially common for high school and college students, but can happen at any stage in someone’s life if they are prone to it. The best way to avoid this is to first realize that you do struggle with it, and then monitor it more closely so you know not to do it.

  3. Poor Planning. There are many ways you can plan poorly. Some people just don’t have planning as their strong suit. However, it is not always so cut and dry. There are many other reasons someone can poorly plan. For example, not having enough or only having incomplete information can result in a poorly designed plan. A deadline that is unrealistically short will ultimately end in failure.

  4. You don’t like what you are doing. I have been here. In the seasons where I really don’t like what I am doing, I felt like I never had enough time. The ultimate cause of this is that you spend a lot of time doing what you really don’t like doing, only to then spend a lot of time doing what you enjoy doing to make up for it. This will stretch you thin. While I understand work isn’t always going to be fun, it doesn’t to be terrible and draining you until you burn out either. If this is the case, I would recommend working towards finding something that is better suited for you so that way you won’t have to find a large amount of time to do what you want to do on top of your regular commitments.

There are many situations you can end up trapped without enough time. It has happened several times in my life. This would most frequently happen to me in school. I didn’t like the pressure of studying, tests, homework, and projects. It never felt like I had enough time in school and it was very frustrating. This happened at other times as well, it also happened when I was in a job that I didn’t enjoy. I would try to have all of the fun outside later on when I should have been doing other important things, like sleeping. Fortunately for me, I would never compromise on sleep too much, I know people who really spread themselves thin. I want to thank you again for reading, and would like to know what your experience with having enough time has been like.

What is Urgent is Not Always Important

The phone rings, you get a notification or a text, or someone walks into the room frantic saying this has to be done now or ASAP. You were working on your goals for the next quarter while all of this happened. If your experience is anything like mine, there are several instances on when you are doing something important but get interrupted by something urgent. Don't get me wrong, there will also be several instances on when what is urgent is also important. However, I would advise against mistaking everything that is urgent as important. Here are just a few ways to distinguish what is important vs what is urgent.

  1. Urgent things are imposed upon you while important things are contemplated. People will usually impose an urgent request to you like "cut this check right away" or "return this report to me by the end of the day." Sometimes the urgency is legitimate and other times it is fabricated. In most cases though it is coming from someone else.

  2. Urgent things come up suddenly. This is pretty much the definition of urgent. Something that is important has been important already, before you woke up today and far before this and several other urgent things have come up in your life. The urgent thing is something unplanned for and frequently takes precedence over very important tasks, even when they shouldn't be.

  3. Urgent things can easily derail you. I have countless days I can speak of where my plans for the day have been completely derailed because of urgent matters. This is where many factors come into play. Some people are much better at handling urgency better than others, some people are much better at deciding what is actually urgent correctly more than others, and this can get even more complicated when dealing with teams and all kinds of other factors that can play into this.

  4. Important things need to be planned for in advance. Since you cannot plan for when urgent matters will arise, you can plan for important tasks that you know of already. It is best practice to plan with flexibility in the event that something urgent does arise.

As you know, life can get very complicated. There are all kinds of events, tasks, people, etc. competing for our time and our attention. There are so many things that can arise and take us off of the course that we were on already. While this isn't something that is cut and dry, a good rule of thumb is to put a greater effort towards the things that are important, so that way you make progress towards those longer term goals when not dealing with urgent tasks. It is easy to grow accustomed to urgency and to only pay mind towards urgent tasks. Some people live their lives solely for urgency and are just short of living in constant chaos. If that isn't for you and you are more like me, you probably deal much less with urgency if possible by planning as much as possible. It is important to not err too much on that side either because then you may not embrace urgency enough and not act when you need to. There is a balance required on this as well. The best way to get this is experience.

It is very hard to believe that this year is half over already. I cannot believe how quickly time if flying by. I have been writing this blog for two years! To further emphasize this week's topic, urgent and important are going to meet regarding Time is Me. I have been working on a book for quite a while now, and have been off track for a few months because of a lot of things that have happened personally, but lately I just haven't had enough urgency. It is time to get back on track with Time is Me. More details to follow.

To those of you who have been reading, I want to say thank you and hope you are having a fun, exciting, and productive summer!

Take Another Look at Your Goals

We are coming up at the middle of the year, which is a great time to take a step back and check to see how your goals for the year are doing. As we are in the summer season which frequently is a great time to relax and take inventory. While we are relaxing, having fun, and refueling, it is a good time to take a look at goals. As you plan your next steps, here a few things to consider regarding your goals.

  1. Check your annual goals. If you made goals for the year, then this is a great time to see if you are on track. It is quite easy to tell if you are anywhere near the halfway mark or not. It is possible that you are way past the goal or have even completed it already, or on the other hand you may not even be close.

  2. Reconsider your evaluation system. If you check your goals weekly and it works well, then stay on track and keep it going. However, if whatever you do isn't working, it is important to come up with a new goal evaluation system. You may not be checking your goals at all, so now is a great time to start.

  3. Make the right adjustments to your goals. Once you decided what goals are right and still right at this point of the year, then it is time to make the right adjustments

  4. Get yourself motivated. Motivation is a big part of pursuing goals. It is what gets you going. It is not the whole battle, but you can't go anywhere if you don't start moving towards your goals.

I am personally due for a change in my goal systems. This is also a great time to set up a goal system if you don't have one. It could be great time to be a trial run for your goals by going half a year rather than a full year. Also, you may subscribe to not being concerned about specific time periods at all. Regardless of your thought process, we can always improve our goal system.

Stop Making Excuses

Every once in a while I see a need to write a more motivational post. We all need some motivation on occasion to get us going. This can happen when we get caught up in every day life and all of the things that can come up. We all have things that we want to do and are not doing them and we end up making excuses on why we are not doing what we need to do. This has been the case for me several times. There are several reasons we are not working towards our goal, and excuses we can make. Here are a few of them and what we should do when we make the excuses.

  1. I don't have time. This is a major excuse that I had used for a lot of things. I have had times in my life where I was busier and the excuse was more viable, still most of the time not having time is an excuse. This is basically the core of the this blog and what Time is Me is about. We all have the same amount of time in a day that everyone else has.

  2. I don't know what to do. Starting something new and reaching a goal can be difficult. However, even when we don't know what to do, you can research on the Internet, ask someone, read a book on the topic, etc.

  3. I don't know where to start or what to do next. The best remedy for this is to make a plan and follow it step by step. Flexibility is important still, but with a solid plan in place you at least have a guide to follow while continuing to the next step.

  4. I don't think it is going to happen so why bother. There are things that seem impossible that see they will never happen. Even if you try at something and fail, it is better that you tried than if you haven't tried at all.

Here is some motivation for the beginning of the summer. This is a good reminder for all of us, as we can all end up making some kind of excuse at times so this serves as a good reminder.

Boundaries for Your Time

Have you ever seen someone who isn’t concerned about your time? In fact, they are probably not even concerned about their own time. They will call you at any time, talk as long as they want, and somehow always forget when you are busy. There are these kind of people all over and we all have them in our lives. Sometimes they are just jerks and don’t really care about anyone other than themselves, but most of the time they just view the world very differently than you. Regardless of that, it is important to set boundaries regarding your time, or else people will just use your time however they want. In addition, if you don’t have proper boundaries set up for your time, you will be wasting your own time as well. Here are a few things to consider regarding boundaries.

  1. Decide what your boundaries are. The very first step is deciding what your boundaries will be and what you should be doing with your time. Otherwise, you won’t know what to say yes or no to.

  2. Communicate this with everyone. Be clear about what you want and don’t want to be spending your time doing. We all have things that we don’t want to do but have to, but other than that you do not need to be wasting time on things you don’t want to be doing. 

  3. Guard your boundaries. Be consistent with your boundaries. Do not let people cross them or set precedents for things that you know you don’t want in your life. 

  4. Don’t be a jerk with it. Some people are better at protecting boundaries than others. Some go too far, and I have found myself in this camp more often than the other way around. There are times when you should make exceptions to the boundaries that you set up and you should go outside of your schedule to help someone or some kind of emergency comes up.

Let me reemphasize the value of boundaries. Boundaries play an important role in many aspects of our lives and by no means is time any different. Time is very important for us and it is something that you can’t get back or make more of like you can with money. Remember that you are going to spend your time doing something, so might as well make sure that you are spending it getting closer to the things that you really need to be doing.

Dealing with Frustrating Things Outside Your Control

We all have things that really frustrate us. I can definitely speak to this. One of the reasons things can be so frustrating is because every they are out of our control. That makes things extremely frustrating. A very common example that most can relate to is traffic and travel delays. Anything to slow you down from getting from one place to another is usually out of your control and is very frustrating. Another example is dealing with something that just doesn’t work. Perhaps you are using outdated technology that frequently goes down and has several limitations, maybe you are dealing with a printer that won’t print (we have all been there), or maybe you have an employee or a co-worker that doesn’t want to work. No matter what your situation is, the quickest path to frustration is doing something and expecting a result, but then not getting the desired result. Here are just a few ways that can help your deal with frustrations from causes outside of your control and to stop wasting time getting frustrated and angry and spend more time towards reaching your goal.

  1. Accept it. This is something that you can’t control. The best thing you can do is accept it as reality and don’t get too worked up.

  2. Talk to someone. When it is a situation outside of your control, as long as it is in someone’s control somewhere, you can find a way to tell them. You can talk to your boss or at least email with a concern that you have. Even when a product fails, you can contact support, and even write a review if it makes you feel better.

  3. Be positive and helpful. Since getting frustrated and angry will not help you or those around you, it does you a lot of good to maintain a positive attitude and be helpful. Even in the case where the problem isn’t going to be fixed any time soon, you and those around will at least feel better. This is definitely advice I need to remember myself.

  4. Be hopeful. In addition to being positive regarding the situation, be hopeful that it will get better and get fixed. We all have situations that are annoying and frustrating in our life and we will continue to have situations like this. It is a fact of life so we might as well be the most productive by hoping for the best yet still preparing for the worst.

  5. Take a break and return to it later. Sometimes we can get stressed and overwhelmed by something and all we really need to do is to take a break from that frustrating activity and returning to it later. If you well rested and relaxed enough, you will return with a fresh mind and be able to tackle the task better. Even if it is outside your control, you can manage better with another try.

As we all have frustrating events in our lives that are out of control, we benefit greatly by calming down our minds and focusing on what we can do. Most of what we fear is out of our control and that can paralyze you to the point that you wont be getting anything done that you need to. I’ve been there also, I am speaking from experience on this and hope that you can relate as well. As always, thanks for reading.

Summer Productivity

Summer has historically been my favorite season. It has always meant not having to go to school and going on vacation, to the beach, and other fun activities. Ultimately, it means more of what I liked to do and less of what I didn’t like to do. While there are so many reasons to love summer (I do know a few people who would certainly disagree), there are definitely advantages to the other seasons (or time of year if you live in an area without seasons). There are also disadvantages to different times of the year as well. In this post I will focus on how to maximize your productivity with the summer coming up. The coming of summer can mean several different things for you. It can mean the end of a semester or school year, it could mean having kids around since they don't have school, or it could mean that nothing in your routine or life really changes. Since this time of the year is likely to bring changes and opportunities to do something the different, there are several different things we can do to ensure we can stay on track while the summer season is approaching.

  1. Keep a Standard Routine. I frequently mention having a regular routine. This is a routine that should rarely change. The more you stick to the routine, the better off you are in terms of keeping it.

  2. Try doing things differently. Whenever there are a lot of changes happening, it is a good time to do things differently and see if you can get better results  improve your routine.

  3. Make new goals. This can be a good time to start something new also. If you find yourself coming across more free time, it is a great time to start a new project, do some cleaning, take on a new hobby, etc.

  4. Enjoy yourself. Even if you don't like the summer, you can still take a change in routine and pace can be enlightening. 

I hope you are able to enjoy the coming of summer and have a lot of fun, relaxation, and yet still be productive. Just because you may be having more fun, does not mean you have to be less productive. This is an excellent time to work hard and play hard.

Starting a New Momentum

    We all find ourselves caught up in a routine where we are stuck, sort of like on autopilot. We get comfortable doing what we are doing and it is easy to stay on the same path. The vast majority of people don't like change and will only change when necessary. Personally, I do like change and have even been guilty of changing something just to change. Just like anything else there is both good and bad change. Regardless of what momentum we have going on, there is always a need to work towards a better momentum. Here are just a few examples of how to develop a new momentum.

  1. Life Changes. We all have changes in our life that outside of our control and our momentum is changed for us. This is the most common form of momentum change as several people will only change when they need to be.

  2. Take Inventory and then Action. Take an inventory of your current momentum, patterns, and tendencies. Check to see which areas of your schedule and routine are working and which ones aren't.

  3. Set regular goals. To keep any momentum going it is important to ensure that you have regular goals in place and that you regularly review them. 

  4. Establish a regular routine. I do encourage this frequently, and I do stand by the importance of having a regular routine. Just make sure that you don't go too far with it.

  5. Get yourself motivated. You may have been motivated at one point, but it is easy to lose the motivation once the excitement of reaching for a fresh goal wears off. It is important to keep motivated so that you keep your momentum going. 

It is important to keep a good momentum going. Your momentum can be key to achieving goals and being as productive as you can be. We can all struggle with momentum at times but remember that the longer you keep a momentum going, the stronger it can become.

You May Not Need to be Scheduling Everything

Today marks three years since I officially decided to make Google Calendar my main calendar. Before that I had several methods dating back to PDAs, Pocket PC’s, paper planners, and Apple’s calendar. When I switched to Google Calendar, I was able to sync between every device and it synced very well. While I still use Google Calendar today, my method has changed durastically. At the time, I had every task, even the one minute tasks on Google Calendar. I later switched to using an app called TimeTune for smaller tasks and Google Calendar only for main events, typically ones that require to physically be at. Since then, I have dialed back on the tasks on TimeTune as well. I also use Nozbe for my to do list so I now have a method that doesn’t involve duplication of scheduling like before. I am able to connect these apps to TimeTune to view all of them in one place. I say all of this to say that I have come to a system that seems to be working very well for me and this is a great process for you to do as well. I also want to emphasize that it is better that I don’t have a rigid minute by minute schedule like in the times past. If you do schedule every minute of your day and it is working great for you, continue to do it. I think that works well for a season, but for most people there is definitely value in having a more fluid schedule that has a lot of flexibility in it. Below are a few reasons why you don’t need to be scheduling every single thing that you do.

  1. To be more flexible. You are more flexible when you have unscheduled time. Life is unpredictable and can require a significant shift of priorities in a short amount of time.

  2. To save time. It is possible to spend to much time scheduling and planning. If it gets to the point where the costs outweighs the benefits, it is much better to seek an less intensive alternative.

  3. To be more sane. If you are stressing too much trying to perfect a routine and schedule, then you are probably doing more harm than good. Loosen up and find a healthy balance.

  4. To be more productive. I am a huge proponent of doing something different for a better result. You can’t do the same thing over and over and expect a better result. I recommend trying a few different scheduling styles to see which one works best. Maybe the extremely detailed works the best now, but do check on some periodic basis to see if it still the best results later on.

  5. To be less annoying. I used to be inflexible and obsessed with detailed schedules and some found it annoying. By loosening up it will do yourself and those around you a favor.

I know from experience of the costs and benefits of both a very detailed schedule and also having no schedule, and several points in between. My findings are that somewhere in between is ideal, and will shift from different times in your life. There are times when it is beneficial to be more scheduled than others. I would definitely recommend some kind of regular evaluation (i.e quarterly, annually) to ensure that you’re using the best method of scheduling for your situation. All the best in your scheduling and please let me know your thoughts on what scheduling methods work best for you.